Friday, August 29, 2014

Poetry Friday: Mike Aquilina's Terms and Conditions

Mike Aquilina has written about 5,237 books.

We-e-ellll, that may be a wee bit of an exaggeration, but he is admirably prolific. And he doesn't merely crank out information, he writes books that enlighten, inspire, entertain, and educate. Consistently. His output amazes me.

And not only does he consistently publish excellent non-fiction, he's a poet, too.

As in:

"I'll do the 'expert on the Fathers of the Church' thing on Monday, knock off an exploration of ancient Christian symbols on Wednesday, and come Friday I'll pen a charming collection of essays on family life. Saturday? A villanelle, I think."

Except he would never say any of that stuff because he's incredibly humble.

Terms and Conditions: Assorted Poems, 1985-2014Mike's recently published collection, is a treat. Formal forms abound (the title poem is a villanelle, the opening is "Sonnet in Spray Paint") but there is nothing stuffily distant about the work in any way. The content invites us to feast on the meat and wine of family, of spousal love (his poems to and for his wife are especially beautiful), faith and existence, and the everyday business of life, work, and poetry.*

I'm struggling about which poem to highlight, so I think I'll just share a few of my favorite lines:

from "The Poem of the Act of the Mind:"

Nearness is a thing the mind decrees
belying all statistics and the facts.
It scans the far horizons, and it sees
two scattered stars and instantly contracts
a billion miles to make a lion's mane.

from "Pilgrimage":

You are my map, you make a way
I could not know unless you stay. 

from "To Be, or Not":

I toil and spin to seem to have a heart
half-worth your love. To seem is twice the art. 

And if you click over to Dappled Things, you can read "Telecommunications."

I'd better stop there or I'll want to quote the whole book and Mike will have to sue me for copyright infringement. Trust me. You want this book.

Terms and Conditions is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or you can order it through your local indie bookstore.


Be sure to check out the Poetry Friday round up at Check It Out


*Poetry being, of course, an everyday thing for some of us.


Mike said...

Wow! Thanks, Karen!

jama said...

Thanks for spotlighting Mike's book. Will have to look for it! :)

Faith said...

I love Mike Aquilina! How fun that he has a poetry book out!

Karen Edmisten said...

Mike, you are most welcome!
Jama, I think you would really enjoy it, and Faith, if you already love his books, you will find it totally delightful.

Violet N. said...

Thanks, Karen. I have added it to my "wish list" at Amazon.

GatheringBooks said...

Oh wow, this is the first time I'm hearing of Mike! Will be on the lookout for his books. The one you shared here sounds lovely.

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for introducing me to a new poet! Reserving his book from the library in 3, 2, 1...

Karen Edmisten said...

Hope you all enjoy it -- I'm certain you will!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

What a delightful post, Karen! I enjoyed your introduction just as much as those beautiful lines and am looking forward to seeking out and reading more from Mike Aquilina.

Bridget Magee said...

Ooo, another book recommendation! I love when I learn of a new reading gem from a trusted, Ms. Karen! = )

Karen Edmisten said...

Thank you, Bridget! I will try to live up to that reputation! :)

Heidi, thanks, and I think you'll love the rest of the book as much as you did those beautiful lines.